Saggy, and a bit loose at the seams.

I was saddened. but not really that surprised, to hear that Oliver Postgate has died. Along with his partner, Peter Fermin, he was the creator of some of the finest children’s programmes ever created. Bagpuss, The Clangers, Noggin The Nog and Ivor the Engine were gentle, hand-crafted and beautifully atmospheric. His work is the antethesis of the loud, bright kid’s shows of today (although I still detect some of his surreal influence in some of the shows for tinies like In The Night Garden). His voice was always incredibly evocative, a big warm sonic hug.  The animation was never the smoothest, but the charm of the storytelling pulled you past all that and into his world, a safe, nurturing place.

I was lucky enough to meet them both when I remastered the Smallfilms Archive for video release in the mid-90s, work of which I am still enormously proud. Oliver in particular was a little frail, but the perfect gentleman. And as I was screening the work I’d done on an episode of Bagpuss, he started doing the voices. I got chills, I tell you. Professor Yaffle, sitting right next to me.

As he gives a big yawn and settles down to sleep, I’ll leave you with a little clip that sums up everything I’ve always loved about Smallfilm.

 

*UPDATE*

A converstaion with a workmate led to the conclusion that not everyone feels the way that I do about Smallfilm. She hates Postgate’s stuff, specifically his voice, which she said “creeps me the fuck out.” 

Like I said, atmospheric.

Sick Sick Sick

Parry, pre-purge.
Parry, pre-purge.

You’ve got to admire the sheer gall, if you’ll excuse the pun. After Bruce Parry’s Amazon was accoladed to the skies last week, it seemed like the smiley ex-Marine could do no wrong. He’d come up with a perfect bit of telly, thrilling, moving and thoughtful.
So how does he follow up last weeks masterful episode? By spending most of it throwing up, noisily and on camera. I had to turn the show off after half an hour, especially as I was becoming uncomfortably reminded of the bout of food poisoning I’d suffered over the weekend.
Shame, really. I was quite looking forward to seeing Bruce in a dress, which had been promised in the trails. Actually, thinking about it, that might have brought on my own Achuar purging ritual.
You do have to wonder about a tribe that thinks it’s natural and healthy to throw up copiously every single morning. It seems like officially santioned bulimia to me. It was certainly clear that the regime wasn’t doing Bruce any favours. I’m really in no place to comment on the rights and wrongs of other cultures, but I don’t think that’s something I’ll be trying any time soon. It’d ruin the taste of my morning coffee, for one thing.
I wonder how long it’ll take an Internet scamp to edit out everything but the puking and put the unexpurgated highlights up on YouTube? End of the day?